Open Access Study protocol

SALGOT - Stroke Arm Longitudinal study at the University of Gothenburg, prospective cohort study protocol

Margit Alt Murphy*, Hanna C Persson, Anna Danielsson, Jurgen Broeren, Åsa Lundgren-Nilsson and Katharina S Sunnerhagen

Author Affiliations

Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

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BMC Neurology 2011, 11:56  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-56

Published: 25 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Recovery patterns of upper extremity motor function have been described in several longitudinal studies, but most of these studies have had selected samples, short follow up times or insufficient outcomes on motor function. The general understanding is that improvements in upper extremity occur mainly during the first month after the stroke incident and little if any, significant recovery can be gained after 3-6 months. The purpose of this study is to describe the recovery of upper extremity function longitudinally in a non-selected sample initially admitted to a stroke unit with first ever stroke, living in Gothenburg urban area.

Methods/Design

A sample of 120 participants with a first-ever stroke and impaired upper extremity function will be consecutively included from an acute stroke unit and followed longitudinally for one year. Assessments are performed at eight occasions: at day 3 and 10, week 3, 4 and 6, month 3, 6 and 12 after onset of stroke. The primary clinical outcome measures are Action Research Arm Test and Fugl-Meyer Assessment for Upper Extremity. As additional measures, two new computer based objective methods with kinematic analysis of arm movements are used. The ABILHAND questionnaire of manual ability, Stroke Impact Scale, grip strength, spasticity, pain, passive range of motion and cognitive function will be assessed as well. At one year follow up, two patient reported outcomes, Impact on Participation and Autonomy and EuroQol Quality of Life Scale, will be added to cover the status of participation and aspects of health related quality of life.

Discussion

This study comprises a non-selected population with first ever stroke and impaired arm function. Measurements are performed both using traditional clinical assessments as well as computer based measurement systems providing objective kinematic data. The ICF classification of functioning, disability and health is used as framework for the selection of assessment measures. The study design with several repeated measurements on motor function will give us more confident information about the recovery patterns after stroke. This knowledge is essential both for optimizing rehabilitation planning as well as providing important information to the patient about the recovery perspectives.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01115348

Keywords:
stroke; upper extremity; recovery of function; kinematics; longitudinal study